LABOUR Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson believes Wrexham’s growing music festival Focus Wales is a truly international event.

The music-loving politician, second in command to Jeremy Corbyn, paid a surprise visit on route to embarking on a charity fundraising walk up Snowdon.

He was given a guided tour by Wrexham MP Ian Lucas and attended several gigs where he admitted he discovered some new and unheard of before musicians.

“Ian had told me all about Focus Wales and I love any excuse to come and listen to music. What I like about it is that it has a genuine international feel. I watched a Canadian band called Gunner and Smith who were great. Then when we were walking down the street there was a guy playing the guitar and drums just doing his thing – he was not even on the billing,” said the Shadow Culture Secretary.

“The fact the venues are very close to each other makes it so special and it is really important not only for Wrexham, but for Wales.”

The Labour MP for West Bromwich East admits to a musical taste that is somewhat left field for a middle-aged politician. He regularly attends festivals such as Glastonbury and picks up on his teenage children’s tips on bands and artists.

“I’ve got my tickets to see the Specials in Coventry in July. But these days I am exposed to a lot of different music. I watch lots of live music when I can and listen to different types of music.

"At Glastonbury I want to see Fantastic Negrito, who is a guy in his 50s who’s been tested in life – he’s just raw,” added the MP. “I saw him 18 months ago at Dingwalls in London and thought this guy is one of the best live artists I’ve ever seen.

“My teenage son recommended a band called Easy Life. Most teenagers will know them, I’d not heard of them until six weeks ago but they’re really good and I think they will go somewhere.”

The politician’s musical night in Wrexham proved a welcome distraction from Brexit wrangles in Westminster and a break from the fitness regime that has seen him lose seven stone in the last couple of years, helping reverse his diabetes condition after he once weighed in at 22 stone.

He is now campaigning for more people to take up outdoor activities to ward off obesity

Thousands flocked to Wrexham to savour Focus Wales’ eclectic line-up of bands and conference talks by industry figures spread over three days at venues including Ty Pawb, the Memorial Hall, Saith Seren, Royal Oak and the Old No.7 Bar.

Headline acts included psychedelic punks The Lovely Eggs, New Zealand indie pop band The Beths and Welsh talent in the shape of Cate Le Bon, 9Bach, Skindred and Wrexham’s own Neck Deep and Elan Catrin Parry. There were also talks from keynote speakers like BBC presenters Huw Stephens and Bethan Elfyn.

Focus Wales, which marks its tenth anniversary next year, has flourished under the organisation of founders Neal Thompson and Andy Jones and Ian Lucas pointed out: “What is extraordinary is that Neil and Andy have built it up themselves over the last nine years.

“They’re bringing people to the town and they are really proud of the fact it is in Wrexham.

“There are different types of music, rockers of all ages come here and it is a fantastic event. Artists come from all over the word, Canadians and acts from Taiwan and Korea.

“It is really interesting they have developed the industry aspect to it – there is a lot of people doing a lot of business here.”

Tom Watson believes the festival could be part of a model for a future Town of Culture concept.

“There is focus on city culture, but not town culture. But this is where the pipeline of talent comes from, it is about rehearsal rooms and proper teaching. It is about supporting live music venues,” he said.